We’re sad to report that Queen Latifah’s mother, Rita Owens, passed away on Wednesday.
Queen shared the news via a statement to People Magazine.
“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away today. Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldy but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life.
She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over. I am heartbroken but know she is at peace. Thank you for your kindness, support and respect for our privacy at this time. Much Love, Dana Owens (aka Queen Latifah), forever Rita Owens’ daughter."
Owens was diagnosed with heart failure in 2014. After the diagnosis, Latifah became an outspoken advocate for heart failure awareness. She sat down with Blavity last year to discuss her work and life after her mother’s diagnosis. Queen said the diagnosis made their loving relationship even tighter.
“My mom and I were always close, but we’re really close now because I’m able to really be right there for her during these trials,” she said at the time. “It’s also changed the way we eat — that was the first thing that changed — our diet. We changed the way we prepared foods, we became more educated about my mom’s health and what we could do to make it better.”
She became her mother's caregiver, and that led to her becoming an advocate for the caregiver community, too.
"We really kept an eye on things and thoroughly communicated with the doctors and nurses and created a support system around my mom. We just communicate a lot more frequently now," she continued. "We try to give each other breaks when we can because I truly understand how it is to be able to take care of a family member who is dealing with heart failure and the challenges that come with that. So I’ve been reaching out to the caregiver community like, “Hey, I understand. You can take breaks when you can and take of yourself as well.”
On Wednesday, the "Girls Trip" star posted a picture of her mother captioned “143,” which is code for I love you.
May she rest in peace and power.